Ryan Bachtell

Ph.D. Graduate (2004)

Undergraduate Degree 

B.S. (Psychology) 1996, Bloomsburg University

Graduate Degree

M.S. (Experimental Psychology) 1998, Central Washington University 

Ph.D. (Behavioral Neuroscience) 2004, Oregon Health & Science University

Training at OHSU

1998 - 2004

Second Year Project 

(2000): Interactive effects of nicotine and alcohol on expression of inducible transcription factors in mouse brain. (Mentor: Andrey Ryabinin, Ph.D.

Dissertation Ph.D. 

(2003): Characterization of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus' response to ethanol (Mentor: Andrey Ryabinin, Ph.D.

Current & Previous Positions

2003 - 2008: Instructor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 

2009 - present: Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado-Boulder



Background & Interests

I began college as a psychology major interested in clinical psychology. After getting a feel for the clinical aspects of psychology and taking several upper level psychology courses such as Physiological Psychology, Motivated Behavior, and a Learning and Conditioning course, I switched my interests away from the clinical side of things and decided to pursue the experimental side of psychology. I wasn't quite sure I was ready for a PhD program since I had little research experience, so I applied for several Experimental Psychology master's programs and ended up at a Central Washington University. It was there that I became very interested in drug and alcohol abuse. My master's thesis project focused on how physical stressors influenced the rewarding aspects of alcohol. My work on this project familiarized me with the exceptional work and faculty from the Behavioral Neuroscience department at OHSU.

Upon arriving at OHSU, I found the first year quite challenging, but the supportiveness of the faculty, students and postdoctoral fellows was enormous. The environment in the department and OHSU as a whole was extremely collaborative and I feel this was a true asset to learning my learning experience. After rotating through a couple labs, I decided to join Andrey Ryabinin's laboratory. This was certainly a good decision. Andrey gave me freedom with the direction of my project and was very supportive throughout my graduate work. My research project involved characterizing the Edinger-Westphal nucleus, which is a brain region that is extremely sensitive to ethanol intoxication. Through several collaborations and the use of several different approaches (i.e. behavioral genetic and stereotaxic surgery) we were able to discover that ethanol's actions in the mouse Edinger-Westphal nucleus correspond to ethanol-induced hypothermia and ethanol drinking. After graduating, I was interested in pursuing other behavioral aspects of addiction and became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas with David Self. My current studies involve the utilization of viral-mediated gene transfer in specific brain regions to study different aspects of cocaine self-administration and reinstatement in rats.

While studying hard at OHSU, I took the time to soak in the city of Portland and the surrounding areas, which is an absolutely beautiful and wonderful place. From the coast to the mountains, there are ample opportunities for the nature-loving adventurous types. At the same time, anyone seeking a vibrant urban life will be satisfied by Portland's downtown, which is loaded with great places to live and socialize. I enjoy both, so this was certainly a terrific place to attend graduate school. 


Winstanley, CA, Bachtell, RK, Theobald, DEH, Laali S, Green, TA, Kumar A, Self, DW and Nestler, EJ (2008). Concurrent cognitive testing and cocaine self-adminstration reveals increased impulsivity during withdrawal from cocaine: role for ∆FosB in the orbitofrontal cortex. Cerebral Cortex (epub ahead of print).

Bachtell, RK, Choi, K-H, Monteggia, L, Neve, RL, Self, DW (2008). Role of GluR1 expression in nucleus accumbens neurons in cocaine sensitization and cocaine-seeking behavior. European Journal of Neuroscience, 27(9), 2229-40.

Perrotti, LI, Weaver, RR, Robison B, Renthal, W, Maze, I, Yazdani, S, Elmore, RG, Knapp, DJ, Selley, DE, Martin, BR, Sim-Selley, L, Bachtell, RK, Self, DW, Nestler, EJ (2008). Distinct patterns of DeltaFosB induction in brain by drugs of abuse. Synapse, 62(5), 358-369.

Winstanley, CA, LaPlant, Q, Theobald, DEH, Green, TA, Bachtell, RK, Perrotti, LI, DiLeone, RJ, Russo, SJ, Garth, WJ, Self, DW and Nestler, EJ (2007). Delta-FosB induction in orbitofrontal cortex regulates cocaine-induced cognitive dysfunction. Journal of Neuroscience, 27(39), 10497-507.

Graham, DL, Edwards, S, Bachtell, RK, DiLeone, RJ, Rios, M and Self DW (2007). Dynamic BDNF regulation in nucleus accumbens during cocaine use leads to increased self-administration and relapse. Nature Neuroscience, 10(8), 1029-1037.

Edwards, S, Graham, DL, Bachtell, RK and Self, DW (2007). Region-specific tolerance to cocaine-regulated cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation following chronic self-administration. European Journal of Neuroscience, 25(7), 2201-2213.

Bachtell, RK, Whisler, K, Karanian, D and Self, DW (2005) Effects of intra-nucleus accumbens administration of dopamine agonists and antagonists on cocaine-taking and –seeking behaviors. Psychopharmacology, 183(1), 41-53.

Bachtell, RK, Weitemier, AZ and Ryabinin AE (2004). Lesions of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus in C57BL/6J mice disrupt ethanol-induced hypothermia and ethanol consumption. European Journal of Neuroscience, 20 , 1613-1623.

Bachtell, RK, Weitemier, AZ, Galvan-Rosas, A, Tsivkovskaia, NO, Risinger, FO, Grahame, NJ, Phillips, TJ and Ryabinin, AE (2003). The Edinger-Westphal-Lateral Septum urocortin pathway and its relationship to alcohol consumption. Journal of Neuroscience, 23 (6), 2477-2487.

Ryabinin, AE, Galvan-Rosas, A, Bachtell, RK, & Risinger, FO (2003). High Alcohol/Sucrose consumption during dark circadian phase in C57BL/6J mice: Involvement of hippocampus, lateral septum and urocortin-positive cells of the Edinger-Westphal nucleus. Psychopharmacology, 165 (3), 296-305.

Bachtell, RK, Tsivkovskaia, NO & Ryabinin, AE (2003). Identification of temperature-sensitive neural circuits in mice using c-Fos expression mapping. Brain Research 960 (1-2), 157-64

Bachtell, RK, Tsivkovskaia, NO & Ryabinin, AE (2002). A alcohol-induced c-Fos expression in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus: Pharmacological and signal transduction mechanisms. Journal of Pharm. And Exp. Therapeutics 302 (2), 516-524.

Bachtell, RK, Tsivkovskaia, NO & Ryabinin, AE (2002). Strain differences in the expression of urocortin in the Edinger-Westphal nucleus and its relationship to alcohol-induced hypothermia. Neuroscience, 113 (2), 421-434.

Bachtell, RK & Ryabinin, AE (2001). Interactive effects of nicotine and alcohol coadministration on expression of inducible transcription factors in mouse brain. Neuroscience 103 (4), 941-954.

Ryabinin, AE, Bachtell RK, Freeman, P, & Risinger, FO (2001). ITF expression in mouse brain during acquisition of alcohol self-administration. Brain Research, 890 (1),192-195.

Ryabinin, AE, Wang, Y-M, Bachtell, RK, Kinney, AE, Grubb MC, & Mark, GP. (2000). Cocaine- and alcohol-mediated expression of inducible transcription factors is blocked by pentobarbital anesthesia. Brain Research, 877 (2), 251-261.

Bachtell, RK, Ryabinin, AE, Wang, Y-M, Freeman, P, & Risinger, FO (1999). Selective induction of inducible transcription factors in response to alcohol self-administration in mouse brain. Brain Research, 847 (2), 157-165.